What to do in Alston: Things to Do and See

by | Alston, Attractions, Discover Alston, Salvin House, Visit Alston

What to do in Alston

What to do in Alston - Visit the bustling Alston Marketplace

The vibrant Alston Marketplace, a hub of local activity and charm.

Nestled in the heart of the North Pennines, Alston is a charming town with a rich history and stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, there’s something for everyone in Alston. Here’s a guide to help you explore and experience what to do in Alston.

Adventure Awaits

In the North Pennines National Landscape, you’ll find endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, country pursuits, and simple rustic pleasures.

Sights to Behold

From natural wonders to rich historical sites, Alston offers a treasure trove of sights to explore and enjoy.

Dining Delights

Discover the best places to eat and drink around Alston, with many excellent options close to Salvin House.

Cycle Through Scenic Routes

What to do in Alston - Cycling through scenic trails

Enjoy the picturesque cycling routes around Alston, perfect for adventure seekers.

Alston is perfectly situated on the famous C2C route and close to Hadrian’s Cycleway. With numerous long-distance cycle routes, green lanes, and offroad trails, it’s a haven for cyclists. Whether you’re into road cycling or mountain biking, Alston offers an array of opportunities to explore the picturesque countryside on two wheels. Cycling is one of the best things to do in Alston if you love adventure.

Step Back in Time with Roman History

What to do in Alston - Explore Hadrian's Wall nearby

Explore the historic Hadrian’s Wall, a short drive from Alston, and step back in time.

Just a short drive from Alston, you can visit Hadrian’s Wall at Haltwhistle. The wall, once the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, offers a fascinating glimpse into ancient history. Nearby, you can explore the forts of Housesteads, Birdoswald, and Chesters, each offering stunning views and rich historical insights. Vindolanda, with its remarkable artefacts and the renowned Vindolanda Tablets, is a must-see. Exploring these historical sites is a top recommendation for what to do in Alston.

Discover Alston’s Mining Legacy

What to do in Alston - Visit Nenthead Mines

Discover the rich mining heritage at Nenthead Mines, a fascinating site near Alston.

Alston Moor has a rich mining heritage. Visit Nenthead Mines or Killhope Lead Mining Museum to learn about the area’s mining history. Both sites offer fascinating underground tours and extensive exhibits detailing the life and work of the miners. Don’t miss the pine woodland at Killhope, where you can spot native red squirrels. For history enthusiasts, visiting these mines is an essential part of what to do in Alston.

Walk the Scenic Trails

What to do in Alston - Hiking on scenic trails

Experience the beauty of the North Pennines by hiking the scenic trails near Alston.

The Pennine Way National Trail, a famous long-distance walk, runs through Alston. Other trails like Isaac’s Tea Trail and the South Tyne Trail also pass through the town, offering routes of varying difficulty and length. The South Tyne Trail’s section from Alston to Slaggyford is particularly accessible, with flat, well-surfaced paths perfect for a leisurely hike. For those seeking less structured walks, the local footpaths provide plenty of opportunities to ramble through the fells and river valleys. Walking these trails is a highly recommended activity when considering what to do in Alston.

Embrace Nature’s Beauty

What to do in Alston - Spotting a red squirrel

Spot the native red squirrels in their natural habitat near Alston.

With wonderful panoramic views, rugged fells, sweeping moorland, hay meadows, tumbling upland streams, whitewater rivers, and cascading waterfalls, visitors to the North Pennines are routinely bowled over by its beautifully unspoilt landscapes. Alston is surrounded by 12,500 acres of coniferous and broadleaf woodland teeming with wildlife and birds, making it a paradise for nature lovers. Experiencing the captivating countryside is a must on the list of what to do in Alston.

Savour Local Cuisine

What to do in Alston - Dining and accommodation at Alston House

Enjoy a meal or stay at the charming Alston House, a local favourite.

  • Cumberland Inn: Both family and dog-friendly, this award-winning traditional pub is known for its excellent home-cooked favourites and a fine selection of local guest ales.
  • Saddlers Bakery + Bistro: A cosy cafe and bakery, perfect for a warming lunch or freshly made bread and pastries.
  • Alston House: This period establishment offers a stylish setting for coffee, cake, or a full meal, ideal for any time of day.
  • Angel Inn: A quaint, family-run pub where you can enjoy a pint with the locals or a well-priced bar meal.

Stargaze Under Dark Skies

What to do in Alston - Stargazing under dark skies

The North Pennines NAtional Landscape, with some of the darkest skies in the UK, is perfect for stargazing in Alston.

The North Pennines boasts some of the darkest skies in the UK, making it an ideal spot for stargazing. The Observatory at Allenheads, less than 15 minutes from Alston by car, is a fantastic resource for visitors to marvel at the night sky. On clear nights, the glittering display of stars is simply breathtaking. Stargazing here is an unforgettable experience and a perfect answer to what to do in Alston at night.

Stay at Salvin House Alston

What to do in Alston - Relax in Salvin House garden

The beautiful garden at Salvin House, a perfect retreat during your stay in Alston.

It’s hard to decide what to do in Alston, but deciding where to stay is simple – Salvin House. With its welcoming atmosphere, comfortable accommodations, and convenient location, it serves as an excellent base for exploring all that Alston has to offer. Whether you’re cycling, hiking, or simply enjoying the local cuisine, Salvin House provides a cosy retreat to relax and unwind after a day of adventure.

What to Do in Alston

With its rich array of activities and sights, Alston offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures, historical exploration, and delightful dining. Whether you’re visiting for a day or staying longer, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Alston to make your trip memorable.



Rob Lawson is a property investor and communications consultant who grew up in the South Tyne Valley. With a deep passion for historical preservation, he fell in love with Salvin House and committed to restoring it to its former glory. With a vision that blends respect for its heritage and modern comforts, Rob has revived this historic gem for future generations to appreciate.


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